Friday update

This is going to be a very long post with more than 20 topics covered, so grab a cup of coffee or a cocktail or a PBR and buckle yourself in.

President Biden gave his points of attack against COVID in a speech last night. I’ll list the highlights here, then get on to today’s news, then come back with my thoughts at the end.

  • The biggest and most unexpected development is that Biden will invoke workplace safety rules, ordering the Labor Department to require that all private businesses with over 100 employees require a minimum of full vaccination or weekly testing for each employee. Companies that refuse this requirement could get hit with fines of up to $14,000 per employee in violation.
  • Federal government employees, as well as employees of contractors doing business with the federal government, must be fully vaccinated, and there will be no opt-out-and-test-regularly alternative.
  • Teachers funded by federal Head Start money must be fully vaccinated. Biden also requested governors to require full vaccination for school teachers and staff in their state. (Fat chance Gov. Lee will comply though)
  • Workers at health care facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid dollars will be required to be fully vaccinated.

Read more at CNN. I’ll come back with discussion at the end.

Okay. Next item of business. Yesterday I discovered a food item that has been available Downtown for well over a decade, yet I had never tried it.

I have had many a Kooky Tender from Kooky Canuck with the hot sauce. I’ve also tried the Golden BBQ and, when feeling really adventurous, the super-hot Holy Smoke. However, I have never tried the tenders covered in strawberry jalapeno sauce. It’s for the same reason I’ve never tried the summer salad at Wendy’s that has strawberries on it. Strawberries and chicken together do not sound appetizing.

Yesterday, though, someone had got the strawberry jalapeno tenders and offered me one. WOW!!! That was the best chicken tender I had ever eaten! I could not taste any strawberry at all. The best way I could describe it was, “the flavor of the southwest,” and if that doesn’t help, you need to taste for yourself. As far as heat, I would put the strawberry jalapeno sauce at 20% hotter than Kooky’s hot sauce. Perfect. If you’ve shied away from the strawberry jalapeno sauce for the same reasons as I did, do yourself a favor and go try it now!

Next up: News about the Cooper-Young Beerfest. However, first, an IMPORTANT NOTE: I am talking about Cooper-Young Beerfest on October 9, not the Cooper-Young Festival on September 18. They are two separate festivals put on by separate entities. I do not want to hear people say “Paul’s blog says Cooper-Young Fest is going to have COVID regulations.”

So, anyway: The organizers of Cooper-Young Beerfest on October 9 have decided to implement a vaccination requirement. It will apply to all ticket holders, volunteers, and participating brewers. They said the decision was difficult but they felt it was the only way they could put on a safe event given current health conditions.

Tickets will be on sale on September 15 at I’m gonna say it one more time: If you truly love beer and learning about beer, this is the one Memphis beer festival you must attend. Brewers are required to be in the booths (they can’t send their marketing people). There is an education tent where brewers give presentations on their beers. Participating breweries must be within a one-day drive of Memphis, so if you like their beers you can easily visit them.

The Groove on Demand shuttle bus service has once again expanded its reach. It now runs as far south as McLemore and includes Presidents Island. It still includes Downtown, the Medical Center District, New Chicago, and Soulsville.

Southern country-rockers Brothers Osborne play the Orpheum tonight, with openers Travis Denning and Tenille Townes.Tickets are $39.50-$79.50.

Let’s have a look at tomorrow’s college football games of interest:

  • Memphis at Arkansas State, 6 PM, ESPN+
  • 12 Oregon at 3 Ohio State, 11 AM, FOX
  • Pittsburgh at Tennessee, 11 AM, ESPN
  • Murray State at 7 Cincinnati, 2:30 PM, ESPN+
  • Air Force at Navy, 2:30 PM, CBS
  • 10 Iowa at 9 Iowa State, 3:30 PM, ABC
  • Houston at Rice, 5:30 PM, CBSSN
  • 15 Texas at Arkansas, 6 PM, ESPN
  • NC State at Mississippi State, 6 PM, ESPN2
  • Austin Peay at 20 Ole Miss, 6 PM, SEC Network

South Main Association members will get a chance to experience one of Downtown Memphis’ newing living spaces, The Landing Residences at One Beale, Tuesday, September 14 at the monthly meeting at 6 PM. Ali Manning from Project Green Fork will speak, as well as representatives from The Landing Residences. Only SMA members will be able to attend, but they will be signing up new members at the door if you want in. You can also join on the SMA website.

The city-wide drought of Pabst Blue Ribbon 16-ounce cans, an issue at the distributor level, came to an end with a delivery yesterday. That had been an issue the past 2 weeks, with some bars selling 12-ounce cans at the 16-ounce can price and others running out entirely. Glad to have things back to normal.

Sage posted that they are hiring an experienced evening server. You’ll need to have a resume to apply.

Celebrities will be on hand for the final two Memphis Redbirds Bark in the Park home games on Thursday, September 16 and 30. Instagram-famous English bulldogs Sir Meatball and Milkshake will attend both games and will be available for photos. Tickets are $15 per person and your dog gets in free with a human ticket. The Redbirds’ regular season wraps up on Sunday, October 3.

Interesting read on CBS Sports: Snubbed by the Big 12, here’s why Memphis needs to go all-in on becoming a college basketball power. Basically what they’re saying is, if the big boys don’t want to play with us, we should become the next Gonzaga and beat all of them at basketball. Memphis does have the tools to make that happen.

Any other people in the Downtown core find themselves without a place to watch Thursday Night Football last night? Silly Goose gets too nightclubby after 9. Blind Bear has a drag show on Thursdays. Bardog was closed for the week and really isn’t conducive to football-watching besides. Max’s is too far to walk, and I don’t like the idea of walking home from South Main at 11 PM. There’s an opportunity for a restaurant/bar in the Downtown core to capture a crowd on Thursday nights if they threw a big TNF watch party with good specials. Saucer, your move? Or Local? Any Beale Street bars want to get in on this opportunity?

Courtyard Downtown Memphis is looking for a front desk associate.

Today’s National Hot Dog Day. Recommendations: The Daily Dog at Bardog, one of the hot dogs at Max’s Sports Bar, Kooky Canuck’s Montreal style hot dogs.

The annual Southern Heritage Classic, Tennessee State vs. Jackson State, is at the Liberty Bowl tomorrow. The game is at 6 PM, so expect heavy traffic Downtown after 9 as fans get ready to party the night away. Fact I did not know: Jackson State’s head coach is football and baseball legend Deion Sanders.

Keep in mind that if you have to travel anywhere tomorrow afternoon or evening via Lyft and Uber, surge pricing is sure to be in effect big-time. I have a friend who lives in Midtown and Ubers to her Downtown job. She told me it cost her $38 to get home on July 4. I bet it costs more than that to get anywhere tomorrow night.

Watch 19th-century style magic in The Mesmerist at the Woodruff-Fontaine House tonight at 6:30. Jeffrey Day will perform “parlour magic” from the Victorian era. Tickets are $50 and you must wear a face covering.

Drag queen bingo featuring Savvy Duval is back at the Moxy, 40 N. Front, tonight at 7. One of the bingo prizes is a free suite stay.

Strooly performs a virtual show in Health Sciences Park today noon to 1.

Albert King Jr.’s Final Touch Band plays the Blind Bear from 8 to 12 tonight. Usually they’re the backing band for Velvetina’s burlesque show, then they play a couple of hours by themselves. However, I haven’t seen any mention of a burlesque show this week as of Friday morning.

Shufflegrit plays Earnestine & Hazel’s tonight at 9.

The original lead singer of the Bar-Kays, Larry D, has a listening party at Hard Rock Cafe tonight 6 to 9. He’ll present “Just We,” his new single and video.

All right. Now for my thoughts on Biden’s speech last night.

First of all, this is what a true statesman does. Biden’s regulations are going to force 80-100 million people to go get vaccinated, many of them against their will. His popularity is going to drop like a rock. He may have just sacrificed his second term, as well as Vice-President Harris’ chance at ever being elected president. He made an unpopular decision to save American lives like any competent wartime leader would do.

The requirement for private businesses with over 100 employees will probably be challenged in court. However, as the CNN article notes, management of many private businesses will appreciate the cover of federal regulations, because now it won’t be they who get sued over the mandates.

This will drive up vaccination rates. Shelby County, now at 50.9% vaccinated (1+ dose) according to COVID Act Now, could hit 70% vaccinated by the end of the year.

We tried giving away grocery gift cards and even cars, but a large swath of the population couldn’t be bothered to get vaccinated. Since the carrot didn’t work, it’s time to bring out the stick. For a responsible leader, there was no other choice.

As for Cooper-Young Beerfest’s decision to require attendees, brewers, and volunteers to be vaccinated, I think it is very appropriate. I applaud the organizers for wanting everyone involved to be safe. The event is still 4 weeks away, so if you go get your first dose of Pfizer or Moderna this weekend, you’ll have time to get your second and have a full vaccine card for the beerfest.

Whew! I didn’t know writing a blog post could be so exhausting! I’ll do it again tomorrow. Happy Friday.